Agile Project Management for Families

, Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Typically when we write about parallels in our lives with technology or project management, the focus is on what we can learn and incorporate into our working lives.  However, I want to take a moment to flip that.

Be adaptive.  Empower your team.  Don’t hack core.  These are common things you might hear in our line of work.  At Beaconfire we often use Agile Project Management techniques to achieve successful projects.  What if we could use these concepts for successful teamwork at home with our families as well?

I recently came across a TED talk by Bruce Feiler about Agile Programming for your Family.  Seeing as both my husband and I are project managers (yikes) and our 2 year old daughter is already displaying signs of needing things to be “just so” and lining up her toys in strict prioritized lines, I was very intrigued by this concept.

Bruce Feiler’s plan for applying agile techniques to the family focuses on three points:

  1. Always be adapting – let ideas flow from the bottom up, and let the best ideas win.  Constantly revisit what is and is not working in the family.
  2. Empower your children – Reverse the waterfall, get the kids actively involved in their own upbringing (the same way a PM might try to empower team members to take ownership and pride in their contribution to a project).
  3. Tell Your Story (preserve the core) – If kids feel that they are part of a larger narrative, they will have greater self-confidence.  He also proposes the idea of a family mission statement.  After hearing this, the PM in me immediately compared my daughter to a Drupal installation and all of the experiences she will have in her life as modules… perhaps if we can give her a strong core of self-confidence and security, if we come across a bad module, we can disable the module or find another necessary module it needs to work properly without concerns of an unsuccessful upgrade later. Okay, perhaps that is a bit too nerdy.

It’s an interesting idea, check out the TED talk here: http://on.ted.com/Feiler

One Response to “Agile Project Management for Families”

  1. Paul Says:

    The general idea of this post reminded me of another post I read a while back about using agile-ish PM tools for family management. Good further reading on how to run your family like a PM:

    http://37signals.com/svn/posts/3546-how-we-the-kims-use-basecamp-at-home

    This particular article is on the 37signals blog so they’re pushing for Basecamp, but many of the ideas would apply to using something like Trello, or one of the $5 Atlassian starter packages.